The Catholic priest who accidently showed 16 gay porn images to a group of 30 parents at a primary school in Northern Ireland is to leave the area.
Father Martin McVeigh, the parish Priest of Pomeroy in County Tyrone, announced his decision in the parish bulletin.
The last month has been the most difficult of my life. I refer to the meeting of 26 March last with parents of P4/R4 in Saint Mary’s Primary School and my presentation prepared for the upcoming First Holy Communion.
I deeply regret my failure to check, in advance, my presentation. I had no knowledge of any offending imagery existing in it. After the images were inadvertently shown, I immediately removed the memory stick from the laptop. In my shock and upset and in my concern to ensure that the images would never be shown again, I destroyed it later that evening.
I appreciate that the incident at the meeting was very serious in nature and caused much anxiety and distress, particularly to those who were present on the evening in question and I apologise unreservedly for the hurt caused. I want to assure you however that I was not responsible for the presence of the offending images and in this respect I ask you to accept my innocence.
In the hope of bringing resolution and healing to the division and pain within the parish, I have taken the decision to ask Cardinal Brady to allow me to leave the parish of Pomeroy and to take sabbatical leave. … Finally, I ask you for your forgiveness for all the hurt and turmoil caused. I remain committed to my priestly vocation and want you all to know that you will be foremost in my thoughts and prayers and I humbly ask for a remembrance in yours.
Fr Martin McVeigh
28 April 2012
Echoes of Father Ted TV comedy
This saga has been much like episode of the Father Ted TV comedy, but with real world worried parents confusing a display of gay porn with clerical child abuse, and the Cardinal in a great muddle.